Tuesday, October 27 was a tough day. It would have been our daughter Hannah’s 18th birthday. Hannah passed away when she was five years old from a brain tumor. We left our post in Indonesia to come home and care for her for ten months until the Lord took her home. As I look back over these past 13 years since that life-changing event, I can see the dark places, as well as the times God so beautifully comforted. It has been a journey.
Through the journey, little by little, God has taken my ashes of grief and replaced them with something beautiful. (Isaiah 61:3) He has drawn me closer to Himself, and allowed me to see parts of His character that I would not have otherwise known. I have learned to be honest with Him in deep ways, even with the doubts or ugly feelings. He has never failed to answer and lead me. I have experienced His love and faithfulness. I would not have chosen this journey for myself, but I have realized, just in these last few years, that it really boils down to a choice. Am I going to trust His will for my life or cling to my rights (whatever I perceive them to be)?
I posted some of our memories of Hannah and our hopes for the future on Facebook, and invited others to share. Many people mentioned butterflies, which have come to represent Hannah to our family. One of the children of an MAF family in Indonesia who knew Hannah wrote: “Just recently I went on a back packing trip with my husband. I saw a butterfly and thought of Hannah. I told him all about her life. We walked over to continue our hike and there were a thousand butterflies in a pile of campfire ashes. Truly beautiful things do come from the ashes.”